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Payment for minor league players and stadium employees in limbo

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Players aren’t paid during spring training. They’re given meal money, but that’s it. That’s not a big issue for big leaguers who make, at the very least, six figures per season. It’s a very big issue for minor league players, who are generally paid less than the minimum wage and often have to work other jobs during the offseason just to live.

Spring training is over for the time being because of the coronavirus pandemic, which means players aren’t even getting meal money anymore unless they’ve elected to stay in camp and keep working out. And they can’t live on that forever.

Baseball is an enormous industry that enjoyed record profits last year. The owners are ludicrously wealthy. And yet minor league players, most of whom did not sign million-dollar bonuses upon getting drafted or being signed internationally, the players who are quite literally the future of the sport, don’t know how they’ll be able to make ends meet.

The owners, and indeed the league itself, could easily create some sort of fund to at least give the players something resembling a wage until the crisis ends. The Rangers told Evan Grant that they’ve spoken with the commissioner’s office about paying minor leaguers during the shutdown, which is good to hear, but nothing has been decided just yet.

Players are traveling home, but they have these guys’ addresses and routing numbers. It’s doable. There’s no excuse to send them home and expect them to keep themselves ready to go at a moment’s notice while also providing no income at a time when finding a job could be extremely difficult.

Teams also have an obligation to help out the low-income workers at their stadiums. No games or events means no work for these people, which means no income. While many NBA owners and players are stepping up to provide for arena staff members, the Detroit Tigers are the only baseball team that has publicly said that they’re going to help their part-time workers. Zach Buchanan wrote an excellent story for The Athletic about these people, who suddenly don’t know when their next paycheck could be coming.

It’s ridiculous that NBA players like Zion Williamson have to step up when the owners of the teams they play for won’t, and it’s shameful that 29 of the 30 MLB teams have been all but silent on the issue. Stadium workers are just as important to the experience of going to a game as the players are. The least teams could do is make sure that they don’t go broke while they wait for crisis to end.

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Source: Indians’ Plesac sent home after protocol misstep

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Indians pitcher Zach Plesac was sent back to Cleveland on Sunday in a rental car after violating team rules and Major League Baseball’s coronavirus protocols, a club official told the Associated Press.

The official said the 25-year-old Plesac went out with friends in Chicago on Saturday night following his win against the White Sox. The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the team got Plesac a car so he wouldn’t be around teammates in the event he contracted the virus.

It is not known if Plesac has been tested since breaking the team’s code of conduct. He will be isolated from the team and can not take part in team activities until he twice tests negative for COVID-19.

The Athletic first reported Plesac was sent home.

Indians team president Chris Antonetti is expected to address Plesac’s situation following the team’s game in Chicago on Sunday night.

Major League Baseball has been emphasizing the need for players to be more careful and follow its protocols in the wake of coronavirus outbreaks with the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals. The episode with Plesac, the nephew of former big league reliever Dan Plesac, is the most high-profile evidence of baseball’s increasing concern about its guidelines.

Last month, Plesac, who has become a reliable starter for the Indians, spoke of the importance of players abiding to the “code of conduct” that every team was required to submit to MLB in hopes of the 60-game regular season taking place.

“Definitely any time you can maintain social distancing is going to be what we have to focus on,” Plesac said July 3. “There are common sense situations, where you see things are packed, or going out to the bars and drinking – doing stuff like that isn’t stuff that’s really important to us right now and shouldn’t be important to us right now.

“We’re given this privilege to be able to come back and play and given this short window to even play. It’s a good time now just to really buckle down and focus on what’s important and work toward something greater at the end of the season and for these couple months, lock in and focus on what we have set for us at the end of the year.”

Plesac didn’t allow a run and limited the White Sox to five hits in six innings on Saturday to improve to 1-1.

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